Why you need to radically re-think the idea of employing sales people...
Chris Newton, our founder, has a unique take on successful selling.
In this issue, I'm going to hand you over to him as he explains why you need to radically re-think the idea of employing sales people.
Have you ever pondered how it is that a heart surgeon can 'sell' a patient on going under the knife?
They 'sell' the patient on having their chest cut into, ribs broken, heart stopped, scars and weeks of pain!
What's more, they 'make the sale' in the first 20 minute meeting, with little more than a pencil drawing of a heart on a piece of paper ... it's a pretty big sale to achieve, let alone in twenty minutes!
Perhaps a strange take on selling. But what is happening there? Are there some powerful observations in this for professional selling for you? Let's (pardon the pun) dissect them:
You can't 'sell' anybody
Think about it. The heart surgeon isn't 'selling' his or her services at all. They are doing something a thousand fold more powerful. They're educating the 'prospect' to the reasons why they should 'buy'. The surgeon facilitates an informed decision to 'buy'.
Does this apply if you're selling financial services? Or tyres? Or industrial pumps? Or double glazed windows? Absolutely!
In fact, I had a conversation recently with an old client of mine who is in the double glazed window business.
I pressed him as to why he personally succeeds in 7 out of ten prospects taking up his product offerings, when his 'salespeople' are selling 4 out of ten.
With some probing, he came to see that his sales people are selling ... rather than thinking about how to help prospects to make informed decisions to buy.
I suggested he change the title of his people to 'Project Manager' ... because that's what they do! They advise on design, they advise on different options, they help the prospect find solutions that best fit their projects.
This distinction was like a whack around the head to him. He realised that by changing the title, more importantly he was changing the mindset of his sales people to what they really do. They'll be heart surgeons.
People buy from people they trust
Going on from the previous point, it goes without saying that when a patient agrees to put their life in the hands of a surgeon, there's a very high level of trust.
Yet they may only have met twenty minutes before. In contrast, some sales people spend months chasing a prospect and don't gain anywhere near that level of trust.
How does the surgeon pull this off?
Trust through referral: The patient is typically referred by another doctor whom the patient does know and trust. Makes you ponder what impact focusing on getting more referrals might have on your ability to secure more sales. So there's a referral strategy to think about.
Trust through reputation: The surgeon's reputation has gone before them. In comparison, what strategies do you have in place to educate prospects to your reputation and track record prior to meeting? There's a strategy here too ... in packaging your message and disseminating it effectively.
Demeanour: How the surgeon handles the first meeting makes or breaks it. If there's any hint of being overly anxious to 'get the sale', or that they're not confident that they have the right solution and can 'deliver', the patient is going to run a mile.
Translate that to your selling role.
Does the demeanour of your people ooze confidence and knowledge from the moment they meet a prospect? Is there a deep sense of confidence that they can deliver? And is their presentation totally free of any hint of desperation that they want, need, a sale right now?
'Professional Detachment' ... with compassion
This is a really interesting and powerful dynamic. And often a difficult one for salespeople to come to terms with. The surgeon doesn't get emotionally involved.
Instead, they display a level of professional detachment. Tempered with compassion certainly, but detached. This detachment exudes absolute authority and control over the situation.
There's a 'laying down the ground rules' to the patient that they must comply with certain guidelines too.
What do you think happens if the patient refuses to fast prior to the operation, or they refuse to give up smoking ... or indeed, ask for a discount!
Does the surgeon cave in and agree to go ahead on the patient's terms?
Absolutely not! The operation will be called off, and the patient advised to take some counselling, or to go to another surgeon.
But what happens in selling?
So often, when a prospect argues the price, or tries to change the conditions, the emotionally attached sales person will cave in. They'll offer discounts, agree to compromises ... and even call back and back to plead for the sale with further inducements. In other words, they aren't the 'heart surgeon of selling' ... they become a 'doormat'.
It's all about mindset ... and laying the ground rules.
Of course, there's a whole lot more to this subject than we can broach here. But the message is clear. When you take this approach, you are then in the 'driver's seat' to control the sales process from that point onwards. Very powerful.
And if you master this mindset in the current economic climate when others are panicking, well ... you and your client both win.
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